Kanze Motoakira (観世元章)

Motoakira KANZE (1722 to 1774) was a Noh actor of the shite-kata Kanze school (one of the five schools of shite-kata [main roles]) in the mid Edo period. The 15th headmaster of the head family in the Kanze school. He called himself Sakon KANZE.

A son of the Kiyochika ORIBE, the 14th headmaster of the head family. His fist stage name was Kiyoharu. Sanjuro Sakon was his common name. Studying Japanese classical literature with historical evidence taken into account, he revised the verses of Noh songs on a large scale in collaboration with Munetake TAYASU, KAMO no Mabuchi, Enao KATO and other members, what is called the "Revision of Meiwa," and published "Meiwa kaisei utai-bon" (Utai Libretto Revised in the Meiwa Era). However, the large-scale revision of the verses was not accepted favorably by people involved, and the revision was abolished several months after the death of Motoakira. Yet, this does not mean all of the revisions were reverted to their originals, and some revisions were employed for example new songs, the verses revised on dramatic interpretations and melody symbols, and they have been handed down to following generations to this day. The drama "Ume" (Plum Trees) is a currently performable play in the Kanze school.

Having served Ieharu TOKUGAWA, the 10th shogun, as a Noh play instructor since Ieharu was still young, he was allowed to establish a branch family headed by KANZE Oribe Kiyohisa, his younger brother, in 1752,
Regarded in the post next to the Shiza Ichiryu (four old schools and one new school in the art of Noh), the branch family was qualified in performing Noh plays organized by the Tokugawa shogunate. The masks and costumes inherited in the head family were also divided and given to the branch family, which later developed into the family of Tetsunojo KANZE. Even today, the "branch family" means the family of Tetsunojo in the Kanze school.